Americans who don’t identify as male or female can finally rejoice, after the United States has issued its first passport with an “X” gender designation.
According to a Wednesday statement by the State Department, the “X” designation will likely be offered on a broad basis next year, according to AP.
The U.S. special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, Jessica Stern, called the moves historic and celebratory, saying they bring the government documents in line with the “lived reality” that there is a wider spectrum of human sex characteristics than is reflected in the previous two designations. -AP
“When a person obtains identity documents that reflect their true identity, they live with greater dignity and respect,” said Stern, who added that her office planned to encourage other nations to embrace the same changes.
“We see this as a way of affirming and uplifting the human rights of trans and intersex and gender-nonconforming and nonbinary people everywhere,” she said.
While the state department has declined to reveal who received the “X” passport, some suspect it may be Dana Zzyym, an ‘intersex Colorado resident’ who took the State Department to court in 2015.
Zzymm (pronounced Zimm), was denied a passport after refusing to check male or female on an application – instead writing “intersex” above the boxes marked “M” and “F” – and requested an “X” gender designation in a separate letter.
Zzyym was born with ambiguous physical sexual characteristics but was raised as a boy and underwent several surgeries that failed to make Zzyym appear fully male, according to court filings. Zzyym served in the Navy as a male but later came to identify as intersex while working and studying at Colorado State University. The department’s denial of Zzyym’s passport prevented Zzyym from being able to travel to a meeting of Organization Intersex International in Mexico. -AP
In June, the State Department announced that it would add a third gender designation for nonbinary, intersex and gender-nonconforming people, however it said that due to extensive updates required to their computer systems, it might take a while to fully implement. One department official told AP that the passport application and “X” update to the system would still need to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget, which approves all government forms.
Meanwhile, the department no longer requires applicants to provide medical certification if their gender doesn’t match what’s listed on other identification documents.